Bio for Sarah “LJ” Capps

/ Bio for Sarah “LJ” Capps

Name: Sarah “LJ” Capps

What years have you lived in Lawrenceville? 3 years

Why did you move to Lawrenceville? I moved from Florida in 2018 for better job opportunities.

Current Job Title (if employed): Executive Director, Bach Choir of Pittsburgh

Why do you want to be on the LU Board? What would you like to work on within the neighborhood? I grew up in a small town outside of Savannah, GA and had a community that supported and cared for each other. While living in Tampa, FL, I was active in the revival of the Seminole Heights neighborhood and watched the community come together after the 2008 recession and then change after heavy gentrification. I like to know my neighbors. I feel Pittsburgh struggles with reaching out to one another, especially newcomers and those with disabilities. In the time I have been in my current home, I have met my whole block and in turn introduced them to each other. I know the names and faces of my neighbors and feel connected to the pride folks have for our patch of Pittsburgh in Lawrenceville.

Please list Volunteer, Non-Profit, or Board Experience: I have over 15 years of diverse nonprofit experience specializing in finance, media relations, community outreach, and fundraising. I earned a graduate certificate of Nonprofit Management from the University of South Florida. I have worked or volunteered with multiple organizations on a wide variety, including: Ecology Florida, Florida Consumer Action Network, WMNF, Metro Wellness, WEDU, and Creative Pinellas. I previously served as a board member to the South Shore Symphony Orchestra, FCAN, Equality Florida, Venture Compound, and Birdhouse Buying Club Food Cooperative. I have also served as a nonprofit liaison to the City of St Petersburg, FL that led to the formation of the Warehouse Arts District. I am currently employed as the Executive Director of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh.

What makes Lawrenceville unique? Why? Lawrenceville has a unique blend of historic roots, community institutions, and modern culture. I have chosen to make this neighborhood my home for as long as I can afford to stay. Though being close to restaurants and things to do is a bonus, it is people that make up the neighborhood I care most about. There is a rich community that is in need of rebuilding and reconnecting port-pandemic.

One of LU’s core values is equity and the organization will be undergoing anti-oppression trainings in summer 2022, which new Board members will participate in. What’s one idea you have for how LU should live out its commitment to equity? I would like to see LU champion accessible sidewalks and mobility in the neighborhood. This is especially important now PSWA has torn-up and not replaced many sidewalks, making them difficult and dangerous to navigate. I believe there is an opportunity to partner with CMU Robotics and the City’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure to identify sidewalks in need of repair.

How are you involved in the Lawrenceville community? I organized my block during the pandemic. I was also a Census enumerator for the neighborhood during the 2020 Census.

What would you bring to the LU Board (e.g. experience, skills, perspective, network, etc.)? I can offer many skills and expertise. I am happy to serve where I am needed, specially in the areas of equity and inclusions and economic development. I have extensive internal knowledge of City processes and stakeholders.

What is one fun fact that others might be surprised to know about you? I have studied French horn for over 20 years and am currently writing a novel about my childhood in rural Georgia.